The transition of a Scottish Young Persons’s Centre — a dialogical analysis

Mahendran, Kesi (2003). The transition of a Scottish Young Persons’s Centre — a dialogical analysis. In: Grant, Colin B. ed. Rethinking Communicative Interaction: New Interdisciplinary Horizons. Pragmatics and Beyond New Series. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 235–256.



This chapter follows the progress of the Young Person’s Centre (YPC), a training & guidance centre for young unemployed people, in it’s transition from a programme-centred service to a person-centred service. Sixteen months of participatory action research was carried out, involving interviews, observation and consultancy. Communication and social change are understood using a Bakhtinian dialogical analysis of the situated utterances of managers, staff and young people where YPC is presented as a multi-voiced organization. This involved the analysis of four levels of dialogue, the face-to-face dialogue of members, the internal dialogue of the dialogical self, the internal dialogism of words-in-use and finally the dialogue of the self, as social agent, with the public sphere. In conclusion the term ‘person-centred’ is understood as ‘symbolic capital’ where trading in this new conceptual currency has resulted in successful outcomes, but equally it is a currency which some members have access to and others do not.

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